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Wendy Starland – How She Discovered Lady Gaga

Great having you as our cover model! How are you doing? I’m doing great! Thank you so much for featuring me on the cover of Ellements Magazine. It is truly an honor and a privilege. A perfect way to start off the new year.

Just so that our readers get a little background about you, where are you from and how did you get started as an Artist? I’m originally from New York City and am now based in Los Angeles. I grew up with a babysitter named Rosetta Attkins who was a gospel singer from down south. She is family. She taught me to sing as soon as I could speak. We would imitate the voices on the gospel radio station she would listen to. She taught me to mimic both male and female voices in order to train various parts of my voice. I learned a lot of different techniques by the time I was 7, and that’s when I began writing songs. 

My father played classical piano and my uncle was a guitarist whose band opened for acts like Bruce Springsteen, the Allman Brothers, and Black Sabbath – so I had awesome musical influences from the start. 

By the time I was a teenager, I already had a lot of experience under my belt. I got a fake ID and started sneaking into the New York City clubs with my friends where I grew up. 

One night, Maceo Parker was performing a sold out show. Maceo Parker was the lead saxophonist for James Brown’s band who stayed intact after James Brown went solo. They are famous for having the best rhythm section in history. That night Maceo randomly pulled me up on stage, and I scatted my own improvised song for 20 minutes. It was my first time performing live in front of a large audience. 

At the end, after introducing me to the crowd. Maceo Parker’s bassist got down on one knee as if he was proposing. He had taken a string off of his bass guitar and coiled it up into a tiny ring. He took my hand and said into the microphone, “Wendy, you have a gift from God. You must devote the rest of your life to using this gift or else you will rob the rest of us of something so special.”

He then placed the bass string around my finger like an engagement ring and said, “ From this day forward, you are married to music.” And I’ve been married to music ever since. 

What are 3 fun facts about you that your fans wouldn’t know?

• I used to be a competitive tennis player •I’m obsessed with architecture and interior design • I studied to become an oil painter at Cornell University

You discovered and developed Lady Gaga. That’s so fascinating to me. Tell us how that all came together. I attended about 50 live shows and searched for over 8 months before discovering Lady Gaga.

There is a lot of incredible talent out there, however, talent alone isn’t enough. Being a great singer doesn’t matter if you’re not singing great songs. Having great songs won’t be obvious to record executives if they are not professionally produced.

Consistently performing those songs extremely well is essential. Having an undeniable stage presence and never quit attitude are necessary requirements. Taking constructive criticism from others is required to get to the next level. Knowing how to market yourself and your press

materials is key. These things don’t happen overnight. Every artist that becomes famous has a team and needs to convince someone to believe in them enough to have others rally around them to achieve stardom. If I can be that person, then I’m happy to do it. 

Lady Gaga and I wrote songs together and strategized about the project to build it into a cultural phenomenon. I developed Lady Gaga’s career during the recording of Lady Gaga’s album The Fame which received Billboard’s “Album Of The Decade”- Having logged 62 of its record-setting 108 total weeks at number one. 

I could not be more proud to have played an important part in the worldwide success of Lady Gaga. 

What are some of your most exciting moments working with Lady Gaga? When Lady Gaga got her first record deal was one of the most exciting moments for me. She was sitting on my lap in her lawyer’s office while signing on the dotted line. We had worked so

hard to get to that point, and we knew that life was about to change. It will be a moment that I will always hold dear to my heart.

What would you say is your biggest strength as an artist? My greatest strength as an artist is my ability to be diverse and adapt to nearly any creative style/genre as a songwriter. I’ve spent a long time studying music in different genres. That knowledge has allowed me to implement techniques into creating great songs in almost any

style. It’s a dexterity that comes from thousands of hours of hard work. 

How was your experience walking for New York Fashion Week? New York Fashion Week was mind blowing! I was modeling for haute couture designer, Sima Collezione, and photographed by Darwin World Media. I closed the show in the grand finale gown for New York Fashion Week that was featured on a billboard in Times Square, as well as in Vogue Magazine. Truly spectacular! I’ll be walking the runway for Paris Fashion Week, Milan Fashion Week, and Forbes Magazine’s 30/50 event for International Women’s Day in Abu Dhabi. This event highlights the world’s greatest female thought leaders, entertainers, and entrepreneurs who will provide mentorship to the world through the platform Forbes is providing. It was recently announced by the First Lady, Jill Biden. Truly an honor and a dream come true to be a part of this historic event.

I want to hear about your modeling gig with Project Runway, do tell… I’ve been modeling for Gordana Gehlhausen – star of the hit TV show on Bravo, Project Runway and Project Runway All Stars. Nearly all of the gowns I am wearing in this spread for Ellements

Magazine are designed by Gordana Gehlhausen. Darwin World Media does a spectacular job of beautifully capturing her designs. Gordana is a true artist. A talent this big comes along very rarely. She is a unique and special person. 

You have a lot more amazing projects you are currently working on for the first quarter of 2022, tell us about them. I am thrilled to announce an art gallery showing of my oil paintings at the Winn Slavin Fine Art Gallery on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills on February 11th, hosted by Forbes Magazine. The exhibition will display my paintings alongside the work of Master artists, Salvador Dali and Sir

Daniel Winn. This is one of the most exciting events that has ever happened to me! The paintings will explore the theme of time and how our perception of it affects us on a core level. My paintings are inspired by a photo shoot I had at the Getty Villa with Darwin World Media and Chika, who know how to bring out the best in me. I can’t wait to share this series of paintings with the world.

I know we are still in the pandemic, but how do you think this disaster will shape the future of the industry? I believe that the pandemic has acted as an accelerator and incubator for artists to focus on creating the next big thing – in all mediums. The art, music, design, tech, virtual reality, NFTs etc. that will emerge from this period will mark a great movement in history.

How has the pandemic affected your style and wardrobe? I’ve certainly been spending more time either in my home or other people’s homes, so I have been dressing more casually. I typically love getting dressed up and have tried not to allow the pandemic to cramp my style too much! (laughs) I will mix and match a bodysuit with loungewear pants and a cool jacket to create a look that is comfortable yet chic.

How would you describe your personal style? I like to mix a classic piece, like a white or black blazer, with a sexy bodysuit or dress that expresses my femininity. I enjoy wearing clothes that accent my curves and are simple and timeless.

What are some of your favorite designers to wear? In addition to Gordana Gehlhausen and Sima Collezione, my favorite designers include Berta, Gucci, Versace, Tom Ford, and Valentino. 

What are some of your best projects that you’ve been a part of?

I’ve been writing music my whole life and have explored many genres, which has given me the versatility to work with so many different kinds of artists on projects in various genres.

I feel very fortunate that I was honored by the Songwriters Hall of Fame, featured on Moby’s Grammy nominated album Last Night, was awarded VH1’s Best Emerging Artist, and opened for Sheryl Crow and Jack White at Michigan international Speedway.

I discovered and developed 11-time Grammy, 2-time Golden Globe, and Oscar winning icon Lady Gaga. I developed Lady Gaga’s career during the recording of Lady Gaga’s album, The Fame, which received Billboard’s “Album Of The Decade”- having logged 62 of its record-setting 108 total weeks at number one.

I have had the pleasure of performing and/or recording with several artists including: Lady Gaga, Moby, Snoop Dogg, Wu Tang Clan, Billy Ray Cyrus, Sheryl Crow, Jack White, Gavin DeGraw, Rachel Platten and have hundreds of songs licensed to movies and TV.

I love music and the industry has taught me so many valuable lessons that have also translated into other new and exciting ventures. Modeling in Paris, New York, and Milan Fashion Week is beyond exciting for me, as well as walking the runway at Forbes 30/50 event for International Women’s Day.

Having an art gallery exhibition of my oil paintings at Winn Slavin Fine Art, hung up next to Salvador Dali and Sir Daniel Winn, is absolutely a dream come true for me. It’s been a wonderful adventure so far and the best is yet to come. 

The cover shoot for this issue is amazing! How was the experience shooting the cover? Thank you so much for the kind words! Shooting the cover of Ellements Magazine was an incredible experience. I’m so grateful to have collaborated with photographer Darwin World

Media and Makeup Artist / Hairstylist Chika. We work together effortlessly and consistently – and we support each other to become better with every shoot. We elevate one another, which is exactly how it’s supposed to be. Gordana Gehlhausen’s Haute Couture dress for the cover is a showstopper. I am so grateful to be working with the best of the best.

Photographer: Darwin World Media

Makeup Artist / Hairstylist: Chika

Haute Couture Designer: Gordana Gehlhausen